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Cincinnati Bengals at Houston Texans - AFC Wild Card Playoffs Sat 1/5 101 Cincinnati Bengals +180 o43 -110 4:30PM 102 Houston Texans -220 u43 -110
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what to make here?
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the way I see it, anyone can win any game. Coming into the playoffs, I was looking to fade the Texans, but after further review, I think I will wait a week. To me it would take a huge turnover differential or complete meltdown by the Texans to lose this game. With Law Firm banged up, you have to have concern about an already inconsistent Bengals offense. I don't think Dalton will get the time in the pocket he needs to make enough throws downfield to exploit the Texans. Yes, Houston backed into the playoffs but how much credit can you give Cincy for beating the Ravens last week? Steelers haven't been the same all year, but that was still a great road win. Outside of that there is the road win @wash. The Bengals defense is a force, but if the Bengals can't sustain drives to keep them fresh, they will have trouble later in the game. Foster @ home in a huge game, have to believe he shows up big. Kubiak is saying all the right things, I don't think they feel as if they have lost momentum at all, and they may very well make a statement here. Totals wise I could see this staying under, but 43 is a pretty low number. Cincy hasn't allowed over 19 pts since early november so an over play would definitely be scary. I'm thinking of laying the chalk here.
I hate both of these teams but I think the line may be a little short because of how Houston has played the last few weeks
The Texans are playing at home as 4.5-point favorites in the Wild Card Round, but this is a club springing leaks. Houston has dropped three of its last four games and become a different team over the course of the year. The run game isn't nearly as dominant as it used to be. When Arian Foster hasn't faced the Colts' bottom-four run defense, he's managed 392 yards on his last 117 carries (3.35 YPC), wearing down on a league-most 391 touches. Houston's pass defense, another early-season strength, has been problematic since midyear. The Texans haven't so much as intercepted a pass since Dec. 2, over that span allowing Andrew Luck (twice), Christian Ponder, and Tom Brady to amass a 9:0 TD-to-INT ratio against them. Cincinnati is a much hotter team, having won seven of its last eight with the lone loss occurring in Week 14 versus Dallas, 20-19, in a game the Bengals controlled for three-plus quarters. Aside from the fact that the Texans are at home, it's hard to pinpoint reasons for confidence in Gary Kubiak's team. ... A.J. Green is the big name in Cincy's offensive corps, but complementary pass catchers Jermaine Gresham and Andrew Hawkins may give Wade Phillips' defense just as many issues. Having lost inside linebackers Brian Cushing (ACL) and Darryl Sharpton (hip) for the season, the Texans will trot out coverage-deficient veterans Bradie James and Tim Dobbins as starters. Houston slot corner Brice McCain is out with a broken foot. Feisty, elusive, and deceptively physical, Hawkins will be a tough cover for overmatched fill-in CB Brandon Harris. Gresham is a pedestrian talent, but he too will be a difficult assignment for the likes of James, Dobbins, and Barrett Ruud. The Bengals can win these matchups over the middle.
Green will square off with Johnathan Joseph and Kareem Jackson on the perimeter. Rather than shadowing No. 1 receivers, the Texans have generally played "sides" at corner this year, leaving Joseph on the right and Jackson on the left. Joseph had a disappointing season and at this point is arguably the weaker link. Houston's pass defense failings make this a plus matchup for Green and upstart rookie X receiver Marvin Jones, who sees far fewer targets than Green but flashes playmaking ability. ... For the second straight year, Andy Dalton has faded down the stretch. Over his last five games, he's accounted for six touchdowns compared to seven turnovers with a paltry 5.84 yards-per-attempt average. Dalton has talent limitations, and they become glaring when his pass protection experiences any hint of leakage, or when Green isn't consistently winning outside. Dalton and a run game that was down, then up, then down again over the course of the year are Cincinnati's biggest question marks. ... J.J. Watt is a literal one-man wrecking crew. He carried Houston's pass rush on his back this season, leading the NFL with 20.5 sacks. Watt moves all around the formation, playing tackle in dime packages and both end spots on base downs. Neutralizing Watt will be critical for Cincy's upset chances. The Bengals have a top-five offensive line, excelling in both pass and run blocking. ... Feature back BenJarvus Green-Ellis will start against the Texans, but missed Week 17 with a hamstring strain and whether he'll be at full strength Saturday is uncertain. The Texans' heavyweight front seven defends inside runners like Green-Ellis much better than perimeter threats ala Bengals pace-change back Cedric Peerman, so it might not be a bad idea for playcaller Jay Gruden to scale back Green-Ellis' snaps. If Gruden insists on feeding an ineffective Law Firm, the Cincy offense could render itself one dimensional.
Foster made fantasy football owners happy all year, but his on-field performance has increasingly become a major worry. And it's not all on him. Using rare offensive line committees at right tackle (Derek Newton, Ryan Harris) and right guard (rookies Brandon Brooks and Ben Jones), the Texans have struggled mightily on outside zone runs. The run game is the foundation of Houston's offense, and it's become decidedly mediocre. On Saturday, the right side of Houston's line will match up with Bengals All-Pro defensive tackle Geno Atkins and wickedly-talented left end Carlos Dunlap. Not only does Cincinnati rank third in the NFL in sacks (51), it creates run-game havoc via backfield penetration. This defense is good enough up front to thwart Houston's sagging ground attack, turning Matt Schaub from glorified game manager into the single biggest reason the Texans win or lose. ... Recent play suggests Schaub isn't the man for the job. Timid and too reliant on the checkdown, Schaub has completed 84-of-131 passes for 946 yards (7.22 YPA), one touchdown, and three interceptions over the last four games. He's also absorbed 12 sacks, the highest total during a four-game stretch of Schaub's career. As alluded to previously, Mike Zimmer's defense happens to be pretty good at rushing the passer. It's another big cause for concern for Houston.
Houston and Cincinnati met in last year's Wild Card Round, as well, and Andre Johnson whipped the Bengals for 90 yards and a touchdown on five receptions. It's debatable whether last year's playoff stats have any relevance whatsoever for the rematch, but Johnson could conceivably put up even bigger numbers should Zimmer's front seven control the Texans' rushing design, as is being predicted here. Johnson was an absolute monster in the 2012 regular season, setting a career high with 1,598 receiving yards at age 31. ... Houston uses a rotation of possession threat Kevin Walter and rookie DeVier Posey at Z receiver. Walter has topped 33 yards just once since mid-November, while Posey is attempting to battle through a recent spate of drops. Any production the Texans get from Walter or Posey should be considered a bonus. ... A big-time pass-catching weapon early in the season, injuries have pushed tight end Owen Daniels to the backburner for the past month and a half. Daniels has dealt with chest, knee, hamstring, and back ailments dating back to Week 12, failing to clear 50 receiving yards in any of the ensuing six games. Kubiak's offense was at its early- and midseason best when Daniels, X-factor Garrett Graham, and swiss-army-knife fullback James Casey were clicking in two- and three-tight end packages. But it hasn't been that way for awhile. The Texans will move the ball in the passing game if Daniels shows up healthy and Kubiak suddenly rediscovers some of that elusive magic.
Score Prediction: Bengals 23, Texans 21
The amount of love for the bengals on the forums is mind boggling.
Lean texans at this point
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Lean Bengals but cant get the Dallas loss at home outta my head...thats a bad loss imo..look at their last 8 games, who did they beat that was worth a shit except a baltimore team in wk 17?
Just rambling thoughts..
When a man with money meets a man with experience, the man with the experience ends up with the money and the man with the money ends up with the experience.
don't everybody get too excited at once for this game here.....
who gives a shit what everyone else thinks
Seeing a few +3.5s now. If you like Cincy, better get a move on
I just said that line makers care what public perception of teams is. Nothing to do with the outcome of games. I didn't even watch so I have no idea what you're talking about.
how many line makers do you have the privilege of knowing off hand?
Lets talk about tomorrow's games. I'm leaning Ravens big. Late gave what's going on here?
ravens my favorite play of the weekend spek. just makes the most sense to me
Love the ravens tomorrow. Im just worried about the gb/Balty teaser most teaser players must have.
I Want a ray rice rush yards prop.
there is a ravens discussion thread
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